Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Gray on the fast track to become a true ace

MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies rookie right-handed pitcher Jon Gray's start Thursday night at AT&T Park serves as a chance to hurt the Giants' postseason hopes, but he has too much on his mind to care about that.

"There are a lot of things I'm focused on before the season is over," said Gray, who will make his 29th and final start of the season. "I really want to have good fastball command tomorrow. If I can locate that, I know the other pitches will be effective. That's what I did in my side this week, just getting in line, commanding both sides of the plate so guys won't be able to sit one side or the other."

Full Game Coverage

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies rookie right-handed pitcher Jon Gray's start Thursday night at AT&T Park serves as a chance to hurt the Giants' postseason hopes, but he has too much on his mind to care about that.

"There are a lot of things I'm focused on before the season is over," said Gray, who will make his 29th and final start of the season. "I really want to have good fastball command tomorrow. If I can locate that, I know the other pitches will be effective. That's what I did in my side this week, just getting in line, commanding both sides of the plate so guys won't be able to sit one side or the other."

Full Game Coverage

A mature mental approach is part of the reason manager Walt Weiss believes Gray can take the talent that made him the third-overall pick in the 2013 Draft and become a true top-of-the-rotation ace. Such pitchers have been rare in Rockies history, but Gray's 182 strikeouts and solid performance in his first full season (10-9, 4.54 ERA) signal he is headed in a dominating direction.

"He can be," Weiss said. "That's something he should aspire to be, a guy that's considered a legitimate ace, is in that Cy Young conversation at some point. Jonny's got that type of talent. Now, you've got to go out and do it for a period of time, two or three years, before people start talking about you in those terms. He has all the makings to dream that big."

Gray set a club record for strikeouts over consecutive starts with 26 in his last two, but even those games illustrated that he's not quite where he wants to be. He fanned a club-record 16 while pitching a shutout, 8-0, at home against the Padres on Sept. 17 -- the first complete game of his career. But in his last start, he struck out 10 and lasted just four innings in a loss at Dodger Stadium.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Colorado Rockies, Jon Gray